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Wyclef strikes back

by Vanessa Woodard Byers

Haitian singer Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti, has been trashed in the media for how monies it has raised in the past have been spent. Unfortunately, for Jean the reports lingered far too long before he issued a response so the damage done to his fundraising effort is unknown.

We do know from reports that Yele Haiti raised $2 million dollars in two days. Donors were able to send a text message that would donate $5 to Haiti earthquake relief. Requests to donate traveled quickly throughout the internet. I donated and encouraged others to donate by sending messages through my Twitter accounts, Facebook and MySpace.

Then I saw this: From the Christian Science Monitor and other sources ---

On Yéle's website, the group claims "100 percent of funds raised (will) go to the relief operation." Claims such as this should be taken with a grain of salt….

"There are always going to be some overhead expenses — there is going to be a transaction expense for a credit card donation. So when those types of messages are made about 100 percent going [to a group's work], even if the charity is getting its other money to pay for those expenses, the fact is the expenses are still there."

Statement from Wyclef Jean

"My commitment to Haiti is a unique and everlasting bond."

"I formalized that commitment when I formed my first foundation, in 1994. From that day forward, I have spent tireless hours working on behalf of my homeland on development issues as well as human and immigrant rights.

"I have been committed to helping the people of Haiti throughout my life, and that commitment will continue until the day I die.

"It is impossible for me to even comprehend the recent attacks on my character and the integrity of my foundation, Yele Haiti. The fact that these attacks come as we are mobilized to meet the greatest human tragedy in the history of Haiti only serves to perplex me even further.

"I first learned of these baseless attacks when I left Haiti late Friday, where I had been since 12 hours after the earthquake.

"Let me be clear: I denounce any allegation that I have ever profited personally through my work with Yele Haiti. These baseless attacks are simply not true.

"In fact, I have, time and again, committed significant amounts of my own money to support the work of Yele Haiti and other organizations in support of our efforts over the years.

"More than that, I have spent countless hours, days, months and years of my life committed to the country of Haiti, the people of Haiti and the success of Haiti.

"These baseless allegations were first put forward by a fringe website with a history of pursuing sensationalist story lines. The mainstream media's pursuit of them has required Yele to divert precious resources during this critical time in order to answer various inquiries. That must end.

"I will continue to commit my focus to what is most important right now: Haiti. Right now, Yele is working with its valuable NGO partners, the U.S. Government, the United Nations and so many others to save lives, honor those who have perished and get aid to the millions of Haitians suffering through the worst human catastrophe of our times.

"I will never give up on my commitment."


Related link: Wyclef Jean's Foundation Questionable Spending


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Of course he's committed...it is beneficial to him in many ways to be committed. He is also a business man. His campaign to save a country (that at the end of the day, he would not live in year round) gets his name out there, increasing his popularity. It also makes him feel likes he's doing something good to save the world instead of just collecting a paycheck. Haiti has needed more than just money for a long time, long before the earthquake. If he was really invested in changing the infrastructure of the country he would move back there and give his life to ensuring that change.

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